General info - Backpack-nz, New Zealand

Backpack-NZ – General Info for New Zealand

General info

We at Backpack-NZ think it is a great idea to give you some general info about New Zealand to get you started off on the right foot.

Country name – New Zealand

Population Feb 20 – 4,680,743 population increases by 54 people per day

Currency – NZD (New Zealand Dollar)

Where is New Zealand?

New Zealand is an island country primarily made up of the North and South islands in the south western Pacific oceans.

If you spin the globe it is on the bottom right find Russia, follow it down through Asia, past Australia and to the right and bingo…you just found New Zealand!

New Zealand is pretty remote (1500km east of Australia and 1000km south of the pacific islands) and as a result was one of the last lands to be settled on by humans.

What is the capital city?

The Capital city of New Zealand is Wellington. If you follow the west coast of the North Island to where it nearly meets the South island you should find it…

What is New Zealand like?

A note from the Boss!

When I first arrived in New Zealand I had been travelling for a while and was a long way from by home. (New Zealand is the furthest place from the UK).

I got off the plane and instantly felt like I was back home which is quite a surreal situation to be in when you have been travelling for some time and probably due to the weather.

When i arrived in Auckland it is grey, miserable and raining, despite that there is a real positive energy hanging in the atmosphere.

While i travelled around I couldn’t help but soak up the beautify scenery, New Zealand is stunning and it reminds me a little bit of Canada but on a smaller scale.

There are mountains, beaches, and fjord lands comparable to those found in Europe and Scandinavian.

You soon notice the mountains following you around, the pure blue mountain lakes, a random evergreen bush parked next to a pine tree or some other random scene in vibrant and exciting country.

What is New Zealand famous for?

Extreme sports

New Zealand is tagged as the extreme sports capital of the world and you soon see some of these crazy activities going on around you.

You can go sky diving, bungy jumping, climbing, snowboarding, caving, rafting, hiking, biking, luge, Zorb or take a canyon swing to name just a few of the many activities…

The islands

The north island is well known for its volcanoes and the geothermal activity around the Rotorua area.

North Island Blog

North Island Tours & Activities

The south island is better known for its beautiful fjords, dolphins and glaciers.

South Island Blog

South Island Tours & Activities

Both islands offer endless unique experiences and activities, you really can’t get bored here.


If you get a chance, make sure you check out the native bird of New Zealand the Kiwi bird.

The iconic Kiwi bird is endangered, has a distinctive long beak, can only be located in NZ and is nocturnal. (only comes out at night).

Rather than set up camp for a few months you may want to cheat and visit a Zoo that has a tailor made environment recreating night in the day for the kiwi bird to thrive.  

Don’t forget watch out for Kea birds, these pesky fellows are a large mountain parrot and another of New Zealand’s native birds.

The buggers will steal your hat and anything else they can get their beaks on.


There is a long running joke about Kiwis (New Zealand folk) and Sheep, wellies, Velcro gloves and cliff edges but lets not get into that one (said the sheep haha).

Sheep - backpack-nz, backpackiang new zealand

The long-running joke is that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand.


Have you heard of the All Blacks Rugby team? Of course you have!

This special team is well known as being one of the greatest rugby teams in the world.

all blacks -backpack-nz,  backpacking new zealand

31 Super tough, super fit blokes play for the All Blacks rugby team.

(I certainly wouldn’t mess with them that’s for sure!)

Many of the all back players have Maori roots and thrive on their Maori traditions.

The All blacks have such a strong connection to their Maori roots and traditions  that they perform a “Hakka”.

This age old Maori dance is used by the players to show their respect to their traditions and to ultimately intimidate their opponent.

Do they speak English in New Zealand?

The main language is English and 95% of the residents speak English

What is the culture like?

The original culture in New Zealand would be Maori with Maori voyagers reaching the islands of New Zealand around 1300.

Maori culture is an integral part of Kiwi life and adds a unique and dynamic experience when introduced to visitors.

New Zealand’s unique culture is also largely inherited from British and European custom following the colonisation around 200 years ago.

In reality New Zealand culture is interwoven with Maori and Polynesian tradition. 

Modern New Zealand culture is cosmopolitan and the kiwi’s are very conscious about the preservation of their natural environment.

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